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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Search for VP staying secret, frugal”

    A month-and-a-half into the search for a new vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, UA officials are tight-lipped over any possible candidates for the job.

    Despite the secrecy surrounding the search, the chair of the search committee contends that progress is being made.

    “”We have a lot of applications from good people,”” said Leslie Tolbert, UA vice president of research, graduate studies and economic development.

    Judith Leonard, the previous UA vice president for legal affairs and general counsel resigned after being offered a legal counsel position at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Lynne Wood, former UA deputy general counsel, stepped up to become acting vice president for legal affairs and general counsel.

    The search officially began when President Robert Shelton released a statement on May 28 stating the UA’s need for a new vice president of legal affairs, qualifications and the process for submitting applications.

    “”I have formed the General Counsel Search Advisory Committee for the open position of vice president for legal affairs and general counsel,”” Shelton said. “”At this time, we have decided not to hire a search firm.””

    The university decided to go with a committee of academic persons instead of a professional search firm “”because it’s expensive and because we thought that we would try first without them and see how things go,”” Tolbert said. “”So far it looks like we’re doing just fine without a search firm.””

    “”We now have a very diverse and representative group of distinguished individuals who have graciously agreed to devote significant time to this very important national effort,”” Shelton said.

    The committee even has a member across the country – Jamie Lewis Keith, vice president and general counsel for the University of Florida.

    The committee denies outsourcing the search.

    “”We sought out someone who has a position similar to the one we are trying to fill,”” Tolbert said. “”She brings a unique perspective because she holds such a similar position.””

    The members of the committee do not get extra money for being on the search team.

    They are paid for the staff time that they put in on campus, but there is no budget allocated for members of the committee, Tolbert said.

    “”There are costs associated with any search,”” she added. “”We will possibly fly people in and house them. It depends on if they are local or from afar.””

    The committee is trying to be extremely frugal in their search.

    For example, if there is a candidate in Washington, D.C. – a place committee members frequently travel to for UA business – the committee will juxtapose the reason for travel with an interview of a potential candidate, saving time and money, Tolbert said.

    “”Final candidates will be flown and housed here in Tucson if they are not local,”” she added.

    The committee has already held its first meeting and has begun its work.

    “”We are working hard over the summer. We hope to be interviewing finalist candidates by the end of the summer, but there is no hard deadline,”” Tolbert said. “”It’s just our goal.””

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